A Model of Organizational Knowledge Management Maturity based on. People, Process, and Technology

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1 A Model of Organizational Knowledge Management Maturity based on People, Process, and Technology L.G. Pee A. Kankanhalli Dept. of Information Systems School of Computing National University of Singapore Abstract (Forthcoming Journal of Information and Knowledge Management) Organizations are increasingly investing in knowledge management (KM) initiatives to promote the sharing, application, and creation of knowledge for competitive advantage. To guide and assess the progress of KM initiatives in organizations, various models have been proposed but a consistent approach that has been empirically tested is lacking. Based on the life cycle theory, this paper reviews, compares, and integrates existing models to propose a General KM Maturity Model (G-KMMM). G-KMMM encompasses the initial, aware, defined, managed, and optimizing stages, which are differentiated in terms of their characteristics related to the people, process, and technology aspects of KM. To facilitate empirical validation and application, an accompanying assessment tool is also explicated. As an initial validation of the proposed G-KMMM, a case study of a multi-unit information system organization of a large public university was conducted. Findings indicate that G- KMMM is a useful diagnostic tool that can assess and direct KM implementation in organizations. Keywords: Knowledge Management, Maturity Modeling, Case Study 1

2 1. Introduction Organizations are realizing that knowledge management (KM) is essential for them to remain agile in a dynamic business environment and are increasingly investing in various KM initiatives. It is estimated that companies in the United States will spend close to $85 billion on KM in 2008, an increase of nearly 16 percent from 2007 (AMR Research, 2007). Federal government investment on KM is also expected to increase by 35 percent from 2005 to reach $1.3 billion by 2010 (INPUT, 2005). Recognizing that KM is a complex undertaking involving people, process, and technology, there is increasing need for a coherent and comprehensible set of principles and practices to guide KM implementation (Wong and Aspinwall, 2004). To better understand the ongoing development of KM in organizations, this study adopts the perspectives of life cycle theory to describe the process in which KM is explicitly defined, managed, controlled, and effected in knowledge-intensive organizations. Life cycle theory adopts the metaphor of organic growth to explain the development of organizational entity. It suggests that change is imminent and an entity moves from a given point of departure toward a subsequent stage that is prefigured in the present state (Van de Ven and Poole, 1995). Life cycle theories of organizational entities have depicted development in terms of institutional rules or programs based on logical or natural sequences. For example, in information system (IS) research, one of the best known models by Nolan (1979) describes six stages of growth of electronic data processing (EDP), encompassing initiation, contagion, control, integration, data administration, and maturity. These stages are ordered by both logic and natural order of business practices. By organizing and representing data processing and management practices in a coherent structure, the model has contributed significantly to our understanding of data management and has become a recognized management concept in IS research. The wide acceptance and application of Nolan s model demonstrate that life cycle theory is a 2

3 valuable approach for describing the development of IS. As information technology transforms from providing basic data processing support to playing a more central role in organizations, other life cycle models have been developed to depict the evolution of more advanced systems such as end-user computing (Henderson and Treacy, 1986; Huff et al., 1988) and enterprise resource planning systems (Holland and Light, 2001). In the realm of KM, various life cycle models have also been proposed. They are commonly known as KM maturity models (KMMM) (e.g., Gottschalk and Khandelwal, 2004; Lee and Kim, 2001). These models generally adopt the unitary (single sequence of stages), cumulative (characteristics acquired in earlier stages are retained in later stages), and conjunctive (stages are related in that they are derived from a common underlying structure) sequence of entity development in life cycle theory (Van de Ven and Poole, 1995). However, different models adopt diverse concepts and are based on different assumptions. This makes their selection, comparison, and application difficult for both researchers and practitioners. To develop a more consistent and widely-accepted view of KM development, it is imperative to sift through the various conceptualizations to identify the most central issues in KM development. To this end, we review, compare, and integrate existing KMMMs to identify the core elements of KM development life cycle. A General Knowledge Management Maturity Model (G-KMMM) is then proposed to describe the process and highlight the key aspects of KM development. Existing KMMMs have been criticized as ad-hoc in their development (Kulkarni and St. Louis, 2003) because their assessment tools are either proprietary or unspecified, rendering their empirical assessment difficult. As a result, most KMMMs have not been validated (Kulkarni and St. Louis, 2003) and there are reservations regarding their practical applicability and the extent to which they reflect the actual state of affairs. This paper addresses the gap by proposing an assessment tool accompanying the proposed G-KMMM. As an initial validation of the proposed model and assessment tool, we also study the KM 3

4 initiative of an IS organization in a large public university. Through this study, we hope to contribute to research and practice in several ways. For research, this study provides a systematic review and comparison of existing KMMMs, which can potentially add to the cumulative knowledge of life cycle theory in general and KM development in particular. The proposed G-KMMM also avoids oversimplifying the phenomenon of KM development in organizations by adopting a multidimensional approach encompassing people, process, and technology. By synthesizing findings from previous research and clearly defining important concepts, the proposed G-KMMM can facilitate communication and improve understanding between researchers and practitioners. For organizations engaging in KM initiatives, G-KMMM can be used to track the ongoing development of KM initiatives or benchmark and compare the progress of different units. Unlike prior work, this paper clearly defines the components of KMMM and explicates an accompanying assessment instrument, which allows the model to be empirically and independently assessed by researchers and applied by practitioners. By highlighting the important issues in KM development, G-KMMM can also assist managers in their planning of KM initiatives. 2. Conceptual Background This section first defines the concepts of KM and maturity modeling. Existing KMMMs are then reviewed and compared. 2.1 Knowledge and Knowledge Management In organizational context, knowledge is defined as a justified belief that increases an entity s capacity for effective action (Huber, 1991). This definition is deemed to be more appropriate than a philosophical definition of knowledge because it provides a clear and pragmatic description of knowledge underlying organizational knowledge management (Alavi and 4

5 Leidner, 2001, Dieng et al., 1991), which is the entity of interest in this study. In a similar vein, knowledge management refers to the process of identifying and leveraging collective knowledge in an organization to help the organization compete (Alavi and Leidner, 2001). Knowledge is often conceptualized as the most valuable form of content in a continuum beginning with data, encompassing information, and ending at knowledge (Grover and Davernport, 2001). Although information and knowledge are related, it is important to distinguish KM, both as an area of scholarly enquiry and as a business practice, from the concept of information management (IM). While KM presupposes IM (Klaus and Gable, 2000) and the success of KM depends on effective IM (Bukowitz and Williams, 2000), they are different in terms of input, processing of data and information, and scope. With respect to input, KM requires ongoing user contribution, feedback, and human input whereas IM typically involves one-way information transfer and assumes that information capture can be standardized and automated. In the processing of data and information, KM supports operational improvement and innovation through adding value to data by filtering, synthesizing, and exploration while IM supports existing operations by formatting and presenting existing data (Bukowitz and Williams, 2000). In terms of scope, IM is usually concerned with storing and disseminating electronic and paper-based information, while KM deals with a far broader range of approaches to communicating, applying, and creating knowledge and wisdom (Bukowitz and Williams, 2000). 2.2 Maturity Model and KM Maturity Akin to the life cycle theory, a maturity model describes the development of an entity over time and have the following properties (Klimko, 2001; Weerdmeester et al., 2003): an entity s development is simplified and described with a limited number of maturity levels (usually four to six), levels are ordered sequentially and characterized by certain requirements that the entity must achieve, and the entity progresses from one level to the next without 5

6 skipping any level. Maturity models have been developed for many different entities, including IS. One of the best known models is Nolan's stages of growth of EDP (Nolan, 1979). The model identifies various organizational issues in IS implementation and development and highlights the priorities requiring managerial attention at different stages of growth. It has stimulated much interest among IS scholars (e.g., Benbasat et al., 1984; Henderson and Treacy, 1986; Kazanjian and Drazin, 1989) and is considered a significant conceptual contribution that promotes a more structured approach to studying information processing in organizations (King and Kraemer, 1984). In this study, we focus on modeling the maturity of KM systems and initiatives. We define KM maturity as the extent to which KM is explicitly defined, managed, controlled, and effected. It describes the stages of growth of KM initiative in an organization. KMMMs will be discussed in greater detail in the following sections. 2.3 Characteristics of an Ideal KMMM In view of the complex nature of KM, past studies have identified several requirements that an ideal KMMM should fulfill (Ehms and Langen, 2002; Paulzen and Perc, 2002). It has been suggested that KMMM should be applicable to different objects of analysis such as organization as a whole, traditional and virtual organizational units, and KM systems (Ehms and Langen, 2002). This can be achieved by focusing on processes rather than specific objects of analysis (Paulzen and Perc, 2002). It has also been recommended that a KMMM should provide a systematic and structured procedure to ensure the transparency and reliability of assessment (Ehms and Langen, 2002). It should also provide both qualitative and quantitative results (Ehms and Langen, 2002). Paulzen and Perc (2002) emphasized the importance of measurement and echoed the 6

7 suggestion that the characteristics of each maturity level should be empirically testable (Magal, 1989). In IS research, the lack of a clearly specified assessment procedure for Nolan s model has been identified as one of the reasons for its validation to be inconclusive (Benbasat et al., 1984; Kazanjian and Drazin, 1989). Clearly articulating the assessment procedure can help to avoid such problem by allowing independent application and validation. In addition, it has been suggested that the underlying structure of KMMM should be comprehensible and allow cross references to proven management concepts or models (Ehms and Langen, 2002) to support continuous learning and improvement (Paulzen and Perc, 2002). This can be achieved by reviewing existing literature to identify salient KM issues and incorporate the findings into the development of KMMM. Other than identifying recommendations for ideal KMMM, it is also important to consider criticisms of IS maturity models in general, since KMMM should ideally be also free of these weaknesses. Specifically, Nolan s model has been criticized as being overly simplistic for overlooking development in other organizational aspects (Lucas and Sutton, 1977). Therefore, it is important for the proposed KMMM to look beyond technology. Indeed, it has been suggested that KM models should adopt a multifaceted and socio-technical view of organizations by considering not just technology but also its people and processes (Alavi and Leidner, 2001). In reality, it can be challenging for a KMMM to satisfy all the requirements. One reason is that some requirements may require tradeoff with other requirements when implemented together. For example, Ehms and Langen (2002) have suggested that KMMM should ideally be applicable to different objects of analysis. This may require higher level of flexibility in the model s formulation which may result in a less systematic assessment approach. Hence, it is important to strike a balance among these requirements. 7

8 To identify important issues in KM development, we review existing KMMMs that have been proposed and refined by KM researchers and practitioners. For ease of comparison, they are categorized into two groups, depending on whether or not they are developed based on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). 2.4 KMMMs based on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) CMM is proposed to describe and determine the software engineering and management process maturity of an organization. Its main purpose is to guide software organizations in progressing along an evolutionary path from ad-hoc and chaotic software process to matured and disciplined software process (Herbsleb et al., 1997). The model has gained considerable acceptance worldwide and has been regarded by many as the industry standard for defining software process quality. Like many other concepts that originated from practice, empirical assessment of CMM by researchers lagged its adoption in organizations. Nevertheless, its widespread adoption has allowed realistic evaluations to be conducted and many peerreviewed studies of CMM have provided empirical evidence of its validity in describing and guiding the development of software organizations (e.g., Lawlis et al., 1995; McGarry et al., 1998). CMM defines five levels of maturity: initial, repeatable, defined, managed, and optimizing. Each maturity level is described by a set of characteristics. For example, the level initial is characterized as ad-hoc and chaotic, where few processes are defined and success is due to individual effort. Except for level 1, several key process areas (KPA) are identified at each maturity level to indicate the areas that an organization should focus on. Each KPA is further described in terms of actionable practices. Although CMM was originally proposed to describe software processes, it has been adapted to develop several KMMMs, based on the premise that software process management can be considered as a specific instance of KM and the concepts proposed in CMM may therefore be 8

9 also appropriate to describe KM (Armour, 2000; Cuena and Molina, 2000; Paulzen and Perc, 2002). However, several differences between software process management and KM are worth noting. KM covers a wider range of issues and is less structured compared to software process management. Its activities are also less standardized and outcomes are less quantifiable. Hence, KM maturity must be judged from multiple perspectives, including technologies, processes, and employees, in order to achieve a holistic assessment of KM development. Consequently, existing KMMMs have KPAs that are somewhat different from CMM (Kulkarni and Freeze, 2004). Based on our literature review, four CMM-based KMMMs were identified: Siemens KMMM, Paulzen and Perc s Knowledge Process Quality Model (KPQM), Infosys KMMM, and Kulkarni and Freeze s Knowledge Management Capability Assessment Model (KMCA). All four models are developed based on CMM and thus have similar structure. The naming of maturity levels in the four KMMMs are compared in Table 1. Table 1. Naming of Maturity Levels of CMM-based KMMMs Level CMM CMM-based KM Maturity Models Siemens KMMM KPQM Infosys KMMM KMCA 0 Difficult / Not Possible 1 Initial Initial Initial Default Possible 2 Repeatable Repeatable Aware Reactive Encouraged 3 Defined Defined Established Aware Enabled / Practiced 4 Managed Managed Quantitatively Managed Convinced Managed 5 Optimizing Optimizing Optimizing Sharing Continuously Improving Each maturity level of these models is further described by a set of characteristics (see Table 2). However, it was observed that different KMMMs specified different characteristics. Through careful analysis and consolidation of the characteristics in Table 2, a set of characteristics that are repeatedly highlighted by different models were identified to represent the important aspects of each KM maturity level (see Table 3). 9

10 Table 2. Characteristics of Maturity Levels of CMM-based KMMMs Level Siemens KMMM KPQM Infosys KMMM KMCA 0 - Lack of identification of knowledge assets - Knowledge sharing discouraged - General unwillingness to share knowledge - People do not seem to value knowledge sharing 1 - Lack of awareness of the need to manage knowledge - No conscious control of knowledge processes - KM unplanned and random - Knowledge sharing is not discouraged - General willingness to share knowledge - People who understand the value of knowledge sharing share their knowledge - Knowledge assets are recognized / identified 2 - Awareness of the need to manage organizational knowledge - Value of knowledge assets recognized by organization - Pilot KM projects and pioneers - First structures defined exist - Processes planned and documented - Structures to establish awareness of KM methods in organization - Partial technological support for KM methods 3 - Stable and practiced KM activities - Systematic structure and definition of that are integrated with everyday knowledge processes work process - Processes tailored to meet special - Activities support KM in individual requirements parts of the organization - Incentive system defined - Relevant technical systems are - Individual roles are defined maintained - Systematic technological process - Individual KM roles are defined support exists - Only routine and procedural knowledge shared - Knowledge sharing is on need basis - Basic knowledge-recording systems exist - Basic knowledge infrastructure established but knowledge is not integrated - Initial understanding of KM metrics - KM activities translated to productivity gains - Managers recognize their role in and actively encourage knowledge sharing - Organization s culture encourages all activities related to sharing of knowledge assets - Leadership / senior management communicates value of and shows commitment to knowledge sharing - Sharing is recognized / rewarded - Explicit knowledge assets are stored - Tacit and implicit knowledge are tracked - Sharing of knowledge is practiced - Leadership / senior management sets goals with respect to knowledge sharing - KM activities are part of normal workflow - KM systems / tools and mechanisms enable activities with respect to knowledge sharing - Centralized repositories and knowledge taxonomies exist 4 Use of metrics to measure and evaluate success - Use of metrics (project / function level) - Employees find it easy to share knowledge assets - Common strategy and standardized approaches towards KM - Organizational standards 5 - Continuous improvement - Flexible to meet new challenges - Metrics are combined with other instruments for strategic control - Improve systematic process management - Incentives quantitatively managed - Impact of technological support is evaluated quantitatively - Structures for self-optimization exist - Technologies for process support are optimized on a regular basis - Pilot projects are performed - KM is self-sustaining - Enterprise-wide knowledge sharing systems in place - Able to sense and respond to changes - Culture of sharing is institutionalized - Sharing is second nature - ROI-driven decision making - Organization a knowledge leader - Employees expect to be successful in locating knowledge assets - Knowledge sharing formally / informally monitored and measured - Training and instruction on KMS usage is provided - Use change management principles in introducing KM - KM tools are easy to use - Mechanisms and tools to leverage knowledge assets are widely accepted - Systematic effort to measure and improve knowledge sharing - KM tools periodically upgraded / improved - Business processes that incorporate sharing of knowledge assets are periodically reviewed 10

11 Table 3. Common Characteristics of Maturity Levels of CMM-based KMMMs Characteristic Siemens KPQM Infosys KMMM KMCA KMMM Lack of awareness of the need for KM Level 1 Level 1 Level 1 Level 1 Aware of the importance of KM to organization Basic KM infrastructure in place KM activities are stable and practiced Individual KM roles are defined Management realizes their role in, and encourages KM Training for KM Common organizational KM strategy Level 2 Level 2 Level 2 Level 2 Level 3 Level 2 Level 3 Unspecified. Probably Level 3 Level 3 Unspecified. Probably Level 3 Level 4 Level 3 Level 3 Level 3 Level 2 (knowledge database administrator) and level 3 (dedicated KM group) Unspecified. Probably Level 3 Unspecified. Probably Level 3 Level 4 Unspecified. Probably Level 3 Unspecified. Probably Level 3 Unspecified. Probably Level 3 Level 3 Level 2 Level 3 and level 4 Level 4 Level 4 Use of metrics to govern KM Level 4 Level 4 Level 3 (productivity gains), level 4 (project/functionlevel), and level 5 (organization-level) Continual improvement of KM practices and tools Existing KM can be adapted to meet new challenges Unspecified. Probably Level 3 Unspecified. Probably Level 4 Level 5 Level 5 Level 5 Level 5 Level 5 Level 5 Unspecified. Probably Level 5 Level 5 Unspecified. Probably Level 5 Each KMMM also identified KPAs to indicate the areas that an organization should focus on in its KM development (see Table 4). Different KMMMs have specified different KPAs, with people, organization, process, and technology being the most common across all the models. Table 4. KPAs of CMM-based KMMMs KMMM Key Process Areas Remarks Infosys KMMM Siemens KMMM People Process Technology Infosys KMMM does not differentiate between the 3 KPAs at maturity level 5 - Process, roles, and organization - Strategy and knowledge goals - Staff and competencies - Cooperation and culture - Leadership and support - Environment and partnerships Knowledge structures and knowledge forms Technology and infrastructure KPQM People Organization Technology KMCA - Lessons-learned - Expertise - Data - Structured knowledge Perceptual (behavioral) and factual (infrastructure-related) characteristics are identified for each of the 4 KPAs 11

12 2.5 Non-CMM-Based KMMMs Six KMMMs that are not based on CMM were identified: KPMG Consulting s Knowledge Journey (KPMG Consulting, 2000), TATA Consultancy Services 5iKM3 (Mohanty and Chand, 2004), Klimko s KMMM (Klimko, 2001), WisdomSource s K3M (WisdomSource, 2004), Gottschalk and Khandelwal s Stages of Growth for KM Technology (Gottschalk and Khandelwal, 2004), and VISION KMMM (V-KMMM) (Weerdmeester et al., 2003). Among these models, Gottschalk and Khandelwal s model and V-KMMM define four levels of maturity; Knowledge Journey, 5iKM3, and Klimko s KMMM define five levels of maturity; and WisdomSource s K3M define eight levels of maturity (see Table 5). Unlike the other five KMMMs, V-KMMM does not follow a progressive maturity pathway. Hence, it was not considered in our comparison of non-cmm-based KMMMs. Table 5. Naming of Maturity Levels of Non-CMM-based KMMMs Level Knowledge Journey 5iKM3 Klimko s KMMM K3M Stages of Growth for KM Technology 1 Knowledge chaotic Initial Initial Standardized infrastructure for knowledge sharing End-user tools (people-to-technology) 2 Knowledge aware Intent Knowledge discoverer Top-down quality-assured information flow Who knows what (people-to-people) 3 Knowledge focused Initiative Knowledge creator Top-down retention measurement What they know (people-to-docs) 4 Knowledge managed Intelligent Knowledge manager Organizational learning What they think (people-to-systems) 5 Knowledge centric Innovative Knowledge renewer Organizational knowledge base / intellectual property maintenance 6 Process-driven knowledge sharing 7 Continual process improvement 8 Self-actualized organization Similar to CMM-based KMMMs, each maturity level of the non-cmm-based KMMMs is described by a set of characteristics (see Table 6). Among the models, K3M define finer levels of maturity compared to other KMMMs. Hence, in our comparison in Table 6, several levels of K3M are sometimes combined and taken to be comparable to a single level of other KMMMs. In addition, K3M and the Stages of Growth for KM Technology model lack the first level and they were thus excluded from our comparison at that level. 12

13 Table 6. Characteristics of Non-CMM-based KMMMs Level Knowledge Journey 1 Lack of awareness of the need to manage knowledge Does not demonstrate relationship between importance of KM and achievement of organizational goals 5iKM3 Klimko s KMMM K3M Stages of Growth for KM Technology No formal processes for using organizational knowledge effectively for business delivery - Does not pay specific attention to KM activities - KM is considered as information management 2 Awareness of the need to manage organizational knowledge - Content publishing and management system in place (level 1) Widespread dissemination - Information is digitized and delivered from managers to staff via and use of end-user tools - Awareness and Organization realizes the - Focus on internals (defining, scanning, codifying, and structured broadcasts and web portals (level 2) among knowledge workers implementation of KM potential in harnessing distributing knowledge) - Clearly defined roles and deliverables (level 2) in the company. across the organization its organizational - KM still considered information management - Individuals are aware that they are accountable for achieving goals may not be uniform knowledge for business - Challenge is to codify and deploy discovered set by the management (level 2) - Pilot projects exists in benefits knowledge some areas 3 - Organization uses KM procedures and tools - Organization recognizes that KM brings some benefits to the business 4 - Has integrated framework of KM procedures and tools - Some technical and cultural issues need to be overcome 5 - KM procedures are an integral part of organizational and individual processes - Value of knowledge is reported to the stakeholders - Organizations have knowledge enabled their business processes - Organizations are observing benefits and business impacts from KM - Has matured collaboration and sharing throughout the business processes - KM has resulted in collective and collaborative organizational intelligence Continuous improvement KM is institutionalized - Focus on externals (management commitment, understanding business needs, innovation) - Focus on creating knowledge that is of interest to future business needs - Broad-based approach to KM, technology is secondary - Challenge is to understand future business needs and make forecasts on business environment - Institutionalized (document processes, promote sharing, manage resources, utilize sophisticated technology) - Individuals and organizational units dedicated to KM - KM has formal documented processes - Knowledge processes are measurable, quantitative control is possible - KM interfaces with quality management function - Challenge is to integrate existing and created knowledge, and to institutionalized KM processes Focus on inter-organizational co-operation and exploit common ways of knowledge creation - Measure retention of information delivered to staff via collection tools (level 3) - Digitizing and just-in-time delivery of information (level 4) - Measure retention (level 4) - Maintain up-to-date repository of organizational documents (level 4) - Gather, organize, improve, and maintain individual and collective processes via secure, internal, and customizable web portals (level 5) - Capture and just-in-time delivery of up-to-date work processes organized by role (level 6) Knowledge workers use IT to find other knowledge workers. It aims to record and disclose who in the organization knows what by building knowledge directories. IT provides knowledge workers with access to information that is typically stored in documents and made available to colleagues. Here data mining techniques will be applied to store and combine information in data warehouses. - Knowledge collection tools capture feedback, best practices, and The system is intended to lessons learned from resources at the front line (level 7) help solve a knowledge - Knowledge is shared, reused, analyzed, and optimized (level 7) problem. Artificial - KM provides online virtual representation of the organization and intelligence will be applied its functional units (level 8) in these systems. - KMS forms the structural backbone for enterprise-wide innovation and employee self-actualization (level 8) - Continuous filtering out of non-value-added work (level 8) 13

14 We observed that there are relatively less similarities across the non-cmm-based KMMMs as compared to the CMM-based KMMMs. However, many of the common characteristics of CMM-based KMMMs in Table 3 are also observed in the non-cmm-based KMMMs. For example, all non-cmm-based KMMMs that have defined level 1 characterized it by organization s lack of awareness of the need to manage knowledge formally and level 2 by the presence of such awareness. Also, the need to have basic KM infrastructure at level 3 is strongly implied in all non-cmm-based KMMMs. In addition, we observed that all non-cmm-based KMMMs (except Klimko s KMMM which does not identify any KPA and the Stages of Growth for KM Technology model which focuses on technological aspects) identify KPAs that are largely similar to CMM-based models, which includes people, process, and technology (see Table 7). Based on these comparisons, a general KMMM was proposed, as discussed next. Table 7. KPAs of Non-CMM-based KMMMs KMMM Key Process Areas Remarks V-KMMM Culture Infrastructure Technology The Knowledge Journey People Process and content Technology 5iKM3 People Process Technology K3M Process and technology - Model focuses on technological aspects - People aspects are described from a technological perspective Stages of Growth for KM Technology - Model focuses solely on technological aspects Technology 3. Proposed General KMMM (G-KMMM) Akin to life cycle theory and the majority of existing KMMMs, the proposed G-KMMM follows a staged-structure and has two main components: maturity level and KPA. Each maturity level is characterized in terms of three KPAs (people, process, and technology), and each KPA is described by a set of characteristics. These characteristics specify the key practices that, when collectively employed, can help organizations accomplish the goals of the particular maturity level. 14

15 3.1 Maturity Levels in G-KMMM G-KMMM defines five levels of maturity: initial, aware, defined, managed, and optimizing (see Table 8). Organizations at the initial level have little or no intention to formally manage knowledge as it is not explicitly recognized as essential to their long-term success. At the aware level, organizations are aware of the significance of knowledge and have the intention to manage it formally, but may not know how to do so. Organizations at this level often initiate various pilot projects to explore the potentials of KM. Organizations at the defined level have basic infrastructures supporting KM, with management actively promoting KM by articulating KM strategy and providing training and incentives. In these organizations, formal processes for creating, capturing, sharing, and applying both formal and informal knowledge are specified. Pilot projects exploring more advanced KM applications are also being carried out. At the managed level, KM is tightly incorporated into organizational strategy and is supported by enterprise-wide KM technology. KM models and standards such as those integrating knowledge flows with workflows are also adopted (Zhuge, 2002). In addition, quantitative measures are utilized to assess the effectiveness of KM. At the optimizing level, organizations have KM systems that closely support key business activities. With an institutionalized knowledge-sharing culture, organizational members, while not expected to share every single piece of their knowledge, are willing to contribute unique and valuable knowledge that is important to the performance of the organization. 15

16 Table 8. Proposed G-KMMM Maturity Level General Description 1 Initial Little or no intention to formally manage organizational knowledge 2 Aware Organization is aware of and has the intention to manage its organizational knowledge, but it might not know how to do so 3 Defined Organization has put in place a basic infrastructure to support KM 4 Managed KM initiatives are well established in the organization 5 Optimizin g - KM is deeply integrated into the organization and is continually improved upon - It is an automatic component in any organizational processes Key Process Areas People Process Technology Organization and its people No formal processes to No specific KM are not aware of the need to capture, share and reuse technology or formally manage its organizational knowledge infrastructure in knowledge resources place Management is aware of the need for formal KM - Management is aware of its role in encouraging KM - Basic training on KM are provided (e.g., awareness courses) - Basic KM strategy is put in place - Individual KM roles are defined - Incentive systems are in place - Common strategy and standardized approaches towards KM - KM is incorporated into the overall organizational strategy - More advanced KM training - Organizational standards Culture of sharing is institutionalized Knowledge indispensable for performing routine task is documented Pilot KM projects are initiated (not necessarily by management) - Processes for content and - Basic KM information management is Infrastructure in formalized place (e.g., - Metrics are used to single point of measure the increase in access) productivity due to KM - Some enterpriselevel KM projects are put in place Quantitative measurement of KM processes (i.e., use of metrics) - KM processes are constantly reviewed and improved upon - Existing KM processes can be easily adapted to meet new business requirements - KM procedures are an integral part of the organization - Enterprise-wide KM systems are fully in place - Usage of KM systems is at a reasonable level - Seamless integration of technology with content architecture Existing KM infrastructure is continually improved upon G-KMMM proposes that organizations should progress from one maturity level to the next without skipping any level. In practice, organizations may beneficially employ key practices described at a higher maturity level than they are. However, being able to implement practices from higher maturity levels does not imply that levels can be skipped since they are unlikely to attain their full potential until a proper foundation is laid. 16

17 3.2 Key Process Areas in G-KMMM Based on our review of existing KMMMs, important KPAs in KM development are people, process, and technology (see Table 8). These KPAs concur with past studies suggestion that KM needs to consider human (i.e., psychological and sociological), task or process, and technological aspects in order to deliver thorough and successful business support (Powers, 1999). Such multifaceted view is also recommended by critics of Nolan s stages of growth model, which was considered as narrow for focusing on technology as the main determinant of IS maturity (Kazanjian and Drazin, 1989). In G-KMMM, the people KPA includes aspects related to organizational culture, strategies, and policies; the process KPA refers to aspects concerning KM activities; and the technology KPA relates to aspects about KM technology and infrastructure (Milton et al., 1999). Understanding KM maturity from these different perspectives is expected to provide a comprehensive overview. In G-KMMM, each KPA is described by a set of characteristics. At this point it is useful to reemphasize that many of the common characteristics of CMM-based KMMMs in Table 3 are also seen or strongly implied in the majority of non-cmm-based KMMMs. This suggests that the common characteristics of CMM-based KMMMs in Table 3 are fairly representative of KMMMs in general. Similarly, the common characteristics describing each KPA at each maturity level in G-KMMM correspond largely to those presented in Table KM Maturity Assessment Instrument To facilitate independent validation and practical application of G-KMMM, an accompanying assessment instrument was developed. The KM maturity of an organization is indicated by the extent to which an organization successfully accomplished all the key practices characterizing a maturity level (see Table 9). Questions used in the assessment instrument were adapted from related literature and existing instruments when available and appropriate. Sources included the Knowledge Journey s KM Framework Assessment 17

18 Exercise, KPQM, KMCA, and KM Assessment Tool (American Productivity and Quality Center and Arthur Andersen, 1996; de Jager, 1999). KM Assessment Tool (KMAT) is a diagnostic survey that helps an organization in determining the effectiveness of its KM practices. New items were developed based on the proposed model to assess aspects where suitable items could not be found in existing literature (i.e., PEO3b, PEO3c, PEO3f, PRO3a, and TEC4b). Table 9. Proposed G-KMMM Assessment Instrument Level Question Source KPA: People 2 PEO2a Is organizational knowledge recognized as essential for the Knowledge Journey long-term success of the organization? PEO2b Is KM recognized as a key organizational competence? KMAT PEO2c Employees are ready and willing to give advice or help on Knowledge Journey, KMCA request from anyone else within the company 3 PEO3a Is there any incentive system in place to encourage the Knowledge Journey knowledge sharing among employees? - Employee s KM contribution are taken into consideration - Rewards for team work, knowledge sharing/re-use PEO3b Are the incentive systems attractive enough to promote the Self developed use of KM in the organization? PEO3c Are the KM projects coordinated by the management? Self developed PEO3d Are there individual KM roles that are defined and given Developed based on Siemens KMMM Level 3, appropriate degree of authority? - CKO Infosys KMMM Level 3 Knowledge Journey - Knowledge Officers / Workers PEO3e Is there a formal KM strategy in place? Developed based on Siemens KMMM Level 4 PEO3f Is there a clear vision for KM? Self developed PEO3g Are there any KM training programs or awareness Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 3 campaigns? e.g. introductory/specific workshops for contributors, users, facilitators, champions 4 PEO4a Are there regular knowledge sharing sessions? Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 4 PEO4b Is KM incorporated into the overall organizational strategy? Knowledge Journey PEO4c Is there a budget specially set aside for KM? Knowledge Journey PEO4d Is there any form of benchmarking, measure, or assessment KMAT of the state of KM in the organization? - Balanced scorecard approach - Having key performance indicators in place - Knowledge ROI - Knowledge Journey - Knowledge Journey - Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 5 5 PEO5 Has the KM initiatives resulted in a knowledge sharing Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 5 culture? KPA: Process 2 PRO2 Is the knowledge that is indispensable for performing routine Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 2 task documented? 3 PRO3a Does the KMS improve the quality and efficiency of work? Self developed PRO3b Is the process for collecting and sharing information KMAT formalized? - Best practices and lessons learnt are documented 4 PRO4a Are the existing KM systems actively and effectively Knowledge Journey utilized? PRO4b Are the knowledge processes measured quantitatively? Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 4 5 PRO5 Can the existing KM processes be easily adapted to meet new Developed based on Siemens KMMM Level 5 business requirements? 18

19 Table 9. Proposed G-KMMM Assessment Instrument (Continued) Level Question Source KPA: Technology 2 TEC2a Are there pilot projects that support KM? Developed based on Siemens KMMM Level TEC2b Is there any technology and infrastructure in place that Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 3. supports KM? - E.g. Intranet portal - E.g. Environments supporting virtual teamwork 3 TEC3 Does the system support only the business unit? Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 3 4 TEC4a Does the KMS support the entire organization? Developed based on Infosys KMMM Level 4 TEC4b Is the KMS tightly integrated with the business processes? Self developed 5 TEC5 Are the existing systems continually improved upon (e.g. KPQM Level 5 continual investments)? To assess the KM maturity of an organization using the proposed instrument, data can be gathered through different means. Surveys can be developed based on the proposed instrument and administered to different organizational members to collect quantitative data in the form of summarized statistics; in-depth interviews can also be conducted to better understand KM development and members perception. Alternatively, both surveys and interviews can be used to collect complementary data for different items. 3.4 Towards an Ideal KMMM The proposed G-KMMM seeks to fulfill many requirements of an ideal KMMM. It is applicable to several objects of analysis, including organization as a whole and individual organizational unit. With clear definition of key concepts and explication of an accompanying assessment instrument, G-KMMM is comprehensible and allows systematic and structured assessment. Although the assessment instrument is likely to generate more qualitative response, quantitative data can be collected when objective measures such as number of document hits and usage of KM systems are included. By identifying KPAs and specifying their characteristics to form the underlying structure of the G-KMMM, the model also pinpoints important areas of focus and suggests the need to refer to proven management concepts (e.g., human resource planning, technology change management). In addition, it supports continuous learning and improvement by suggesting that KM should be continually 19

20 improved upon (maturity level 5), even when organizations have attained high level of maturity. 4. Research Design As an initial validation of the proposed G-KMMM, it was applied to assess an IS organization s KM maturity. The case study approach was adopted to improve our understanding of the complex interactions among people, technologies, and units (Dubé and Paré, 2003). Since our purpose was to assess the utility of G-KMMM and accompanying assessment instrument in an actual context, data collection and interpretation were guided by the model and we adopted the descriptive positivist approach (Orlikowski and Baroudi, 1991). 4.1 Case Background The KM development of an IS organization in a large public university was studied. The organization, Computer Hub, provides computing and IT infrastructure support for the entire university, which consists of over 30,000 students and more than 4,000 teaching, research, and administrative staff. The organization is a suitable context for our study because the nature of its work is knowledge-intensive and involves specialized expertise that must be carefully managed. It has also begun to explore various KM applications since In addition, the Computer Hub is made up of multiple units which is typical of many large organizations. This provided a unique opportunity for us to examine whether G-KMMM is flexible enough to be applied in organizations of this form. During the study, we focused on ten units of the Computer Hub: the academic unit (AU), corporate unit (CU), call center (CC), and seven faculty units which included Architecture (ARU), Arts and Social Sciences (ASU), Business (BSU), Computing (CMU), Dentistry (DTU), Engineering (ENU), and Scholars Program (SPU). Each of these units served a large number of users, ranging from 150 to 6,000 people. Other faculty units were excluded 20

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